Jeong Yak-yong
Jeong Yak-yong
Jeong Yak-yong was a leading Korean philosopher in the late Joseon Dynasty. He has been usually regarded as one of the greatest thinkers in so-called "Practical Learning" movement. Jeong thought that Neo-Confucianism, the dominant ideology of the time lacked practicality and relevance to his time, suggesting the need to reappreciate the spirit of the early Confucianism in general, i.e. , practicality.
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Artist returns to Korea with sublime ceramics - JoongAng Daily
Google News - over 5 years
It inherited the Bauhaus philosophy of beauty, simplicity and functionality, which is similar to the silhak philosophy developed by Joseon-era scholar Jeong Yak-yong. The intersection of these two ideas are present in my work, which encompasses
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30% 할인 가격에 고려청자를 소유할 기회, 놓치지 마세요 - JoongAng Daily
Google News - over 5 years
Gangjin is home to many historic Korean sites, including the home of Joseon-era scholar Dasan, or Jeong Yak-yong (1762-1836). He was exiled to Gangjin from Hanyang (present-day Seoul) from 1801 to 1818 based on the suspicion that he was the leader of a
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[분수대] 청렴(淸廉) - JoongAng Daily
Google News - over 5 years
If Bao Zheng valued integrity over family ties, Jeong Yak-yong compared it to chastity. “Integrity of government officials is like the chastity of a woman and even the slightest stain will leave a mark forever. A dark room does not grant secrecy as
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Aftermath of rainstorm - Korea Times
Google News - almost 6 years
The same is true of the Joseon Kingdom scholar Jeong Yak-yong and his ``Mokminsimseo” (Guidelines for Governors). The essence of his pragmatism could not have seen the light of day without his composure in a place of exile. Despite harsh circumstances
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jeong Yak-yong
  • 1836
    Age 74
    He used Yeoyudang as his final pen-name, it was the name of the family home where he lived quietly, near the Han River, until he died in 1836, on his sixtieth wedding anniversary.
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  • 1830
    Age 68
    A letter about Dasan's method of making caked tea has survived, dated 1830, that Dasan sent to Yi Si-Heon 李時憲 (1803–1860), the youngest pupil taught by him during his 18 years of exile in Gangjin: “It is essential to steam the picked leaves three times and dry them three times, before grinding them very finely.
    More Details Hide Details Next that should be thoroughly mixed with water from a rocky spring and pounded like clay into a dense paste that is shaped into small cakes. Only then is it good to drink.” Jeong is well-known above all for his work in synthesizing the Neo-Confucian thought of the middle Joseon dynasty. In the process, he wrote widely in various fields including law, political theory, and the Korean Confucian classics. He sought to return Korean Confucian scholarship to a direct connection with the original thought of Confucius. He called this return to the classics "Susa" learning (수사, 洙泗), a reference to the two rivers that flowed through Confucius' homeland. Jeong published a number of books over various areas, including his best-known Mokminsimseo (목민심서, 牧民心書, The Mind of Governing the People). Although he was deeply concerned about the problem of poverty during that time, Jeong deeply pondered the issue of poverty and raised questions about the role of government officials. He believed that the government and bureaucrats could and should play a major role in solving the problem of poverty. Dasan stressed the importance of the governor's administering the people with integrity and in a fair manner. According to him, the government was the ruling entity to render aid and favor to the people while the people were the subject of the government's sympathy and rule.
    Cho-ui who, during his visit to Seoul in 1830, shared his tea with a number of scholars.
    More Details Hide Details Among them, some poems were written and shared to celebrate the newly discovered drink, in particular the Preface and Poem of Southern Tea (南茶幷序) by Geumryeong Bak Yeong-bo. After this, Cho-ui became especially close to Chusa Kim Jeong-hui, who visited him several times bringing him gifts of tea during his exile in Jeju Island in the 1740s.
  • 1805
    Age 43
    Only a few days after, Dasan sent a poem to Hyejang requesting some tea leaves from the hill above the temple; it is dated in the 4th month of 1805, very soon after their meeting.
    More Details Hide Details This poem makes it clear that Dasan already knew the medicinal value of tea and implies that he knew how to prepare the leaves for drinking. It has often been claimed that Dasan learned about tea from Hyejang but this and a series of other poems exchanged between them suggests that in fact Hyejang and other monks in the region learned how to make a kind of caked tea from Dasan. This would make him the main origin of the ensuing spread of interest in tea. In 1809, the Ven. Cho-ui from the same Daeheung-sa temple came to visit Dasan in Gangjin and spent a number of months studying with him there. Again, it seems more than likely that Cho-ui first learned about tea from Dasan, and adopted his very specific, rather archaic way of preparing caked tea. After that, it was the Ven.
    Dasan and Hyejang first met on the 17th day of the 4th month, 1805, not long after Hyejang's arrival.
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    During the years of exile he concentrated first on the Book of Changes (Yi Ching), writing in 1805 the Chuyeoksajeon.
    More Details Hide Details A reflection on the Classic of Poetry followed in 1809. He wrote on politics, ethics, economy, natural sciences, medicine and music. After his return from exile, Dasan published his most important works: on jurisprudence Heumheumsinseo (1819); on linguistics Aeongakbi (1819); on diplomacy Sadekoryesanbo (1820); on the art of governing Mongminsimseo and on administration Gyeongsesiryeong (1822). Dasan remained in exile in Gangjin until 1818, when he was allowed to return to his family home near Seoul. Attempts to bring him back into government service were blocked by factional politics.
    Jeong Yak-yong was free to move about the Gangjin area and in the spring of 1805 he walked up the hill as far as Baeknyeon-sa Temple, where he met the Venerable Hyejang, the newly arrived monk in charge of the temple, who was about ten years younger than himself.
    More Details Hide Details They talked and it seems that Hyejang only realized who his visitor was as he was leaving. That night he forced him to stay with him and asked to learn the I Ching from him. They quickly became close companions. Later the same year, Hyejang enabled Dasan to move out of the tavern and for nearly a year he lived in Boeun Sanbang, a small hermitage at the nearby Goseong-sa temple, which was under Hyejang’s control. Finally, in the spring of 1808 he was able to take up residence in a house belonging to a distant relative of his mother, on the slopes of a hill overlooking Gangjin and its bay. It was a simple house, with a thatched roof, but it was there that the exile spent the remaining ten years of his exile, until the autumn of 1818. This is the site now known as “Dasan Chodang.” The hill behind the house was known locally as Da-san (tea-mountain) and that was to become the name by which our exile is best known today, Dasan. Here he could teach students who lodged in a building close to his, forming a close-knit community, and he could write. In his study he accumulated a library of over a thousand books.
    The newly arrived exile had little or no money and no friends, he found shelter in the back room of a poor, rundown tavern kept by a widow, outside the East Gate of the walled township of Gangjin, and there he lived until 1805.
    More Details Hide Details He called his room “Sauijae” (room of four obligations: clear thinking, serious appearance, quiet talking, sincere actions). By 1805, much had changed in Seoul. Dowager Queen Kim had died and the young king had come of age and quickly put an end to the violence against Catholics. Three hundred had been killed and many of the rest were exiled or scattered, or had stopped practicing.
  • 1801
    Age 39
    His exile began in the last days of 1801, on the 23rd day of the eleventh lunar month, the 28th of December in the solar calendar.
    More Details Hide Details On that day, he arrived in Gangjin, South Jeolla Province.
    Hwang Sa-yeong, married to one of Dasan’s younger sisters, hid in a cave during the persecutions and in October 1801 he finished writing a long letter to the bishop of Beijing, giving a detailed account of the recent events, asking him to bring pressure on the Korean authorities to allow freedom of religion and, disastrously, begging him to ask the Western nations to send a large army to overthrow the Joseon dynasty so that Korea would be subject to China, where Catholicism was permitted.
    More Details Hide Details The man carrying this letter, written on a roll of silk wrapped round his body, was intercepted and the Korean authorities made full use of it to show that Catholics were by definition enemies of the state. The persecution was intensified and if it had not been very clear that Jeong Yak-yong and Jeong Yak-jeon were in no sense Catholic believers, they would surely have been executed. Instead they were sent into exile together, parting ways at Naju, from where Jeong Yak-jeon journeyed on to the island of Heuksando, Yak-yong taking the Gangjin road.
    Jeong Yak-jong was the head of the Catholic community, he was one of the first to be arrested and executed, together with Yi Seung-hun, in the spring of 1801.
    More Details Hide Details His eldest son, Jeong Cheol-sang, died then too, executed a month after his father. Since he was Jeong Yak-jong's younger brother, Jeong Yak-yong was sent into exile for some months in Janggi fortress in what is now Pohang, having been found after interrogation with torture not to be a Catholic believer. That might have been that, but what brought Yak-yong to Gangjin, where he was forced to spend eighteen years, was the event that served as the final nail in the coffin of the early Catholic community, the Silk Letter Incident.
  • 1799
    Age 37
    In 1799 he even withdrew to his family home but was summoned back to Seoul by the king in 1800.
    More Details Hide Details In the summer of 1800, King Jeongjo died suddenly. The new king, King Sunjo, was still only a child of 11 and power fell into the hands of the widow of King Yeongjo, often known as Queen Dowager Kim or Queen Jeongsun. Her family belonged to the factions opposed to the reformist, often Catholic, Nam-in group and she had been completely powerless during Jeongjo’s reign. She at once launched an attack on the Catholics, who were denounced as traitors and enemies of the state.
  • 1796
    Age 34
    In 1796, he was brought back to Seoul and promoted but his many enemies continued to accuse him of supporting the pro-western Catholics and he preferred to take up a position as county magistrate at Goksan in Hwanghae province.
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  • 1795
    Age 33
    Dasan’s most important task in 1795, the 60th anniversary of the birth of Crown Prince Sado, was to help the King decide on a new honorary title for his father.
    More Details Hide Details This was a fraught enterprise, the Prince’s supporters were members of what was called the Expediency subfaction while his main enemies were members of the Principle subfaction. The Southerners were strong supporters of the King’s wish to honor Sado highly and the King was more than grateful. However, he then found it prudent to send Dasan away from court for a time, appointing him to be superintendent of the post station at Geumjeong, South Pyeongan province. Here, he provided clear proof of his rejection of Catholicism by doing everything possible to persuade the Catholics working there to renounce their faith, and in particular to perform ancestral rites. Almost certainly, it was the Catholics’ rejection of Confucian ritual that had turned him against them.
  • 1792
    Age 30
    Dasan was particularly interested in civil engineering and in 1792 the king, impressed by a pontoon bridge he had designed, asked him to design and supervise the construction of the walls for the Hwaseong Fortress (modern Suwon), which surrounded the palace where the king would live when he visited the new tomb he had constructed for his father.
    More Details Hide Details Dasan produced radically new techniques and structures, drawing on European, Chinese and Japanese sources. In 1794, after several promotions, the king appointed him as secret envoy to Gyeongi province, investigating reports of corruption.
  • 1789
    Age 27
    In 1789, Yun Ji-chung, one of the first baptized and a cousin to Dasan on his mother’s side, had gone to Beijing and received confirmation.
    More Details Hide Details Rome had forbidden Catholics to perform ancestral rituals and this was now being strictly applied by the Portuguese Franciscan bishop of Beijing Alexandre de Gouvea. When his mother died in 1791, Yun therefore refused to perform the usual Confucian ceremonies; this became public knowledge, he was accused of impiety and was executed. Some Koreans who had at first been sympathetic, horrified by the Church’s rejection of hallowed traditions, turned away. Jeong Yak-yong may well have been among them.
  • 1788
    Age 26
    After the promotion of Chae Je-gong in 1788, Dasan took top place in the daegwa (higher civil service exam) in 1789 and was offered a position in the Office of Royal Decrees, together with 5 other members of the Southerner faction.
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  • 1784
    Age 22
    His older sister was married to Yi Seung-hun, the Korean who was first baptized as a Catholic in Beijing in 1784 and played a leading role in the early years of the Church’s growth.
    More Details Hide Details The oldest of Jeong Jae-won’s sons, Yak-hyeon, was married to a sister of Yi Byeok. Another daughter, from a third marriage, later married Hwang Sa-yeong (1775–1801), author of the notorious Silk Letter. Dasan’s older brother, Jeong Yak-jong (Augustinus) was the leader of the first Catholic community and one of the first victims of the purge launched against Southerners, but especially against Catholics, in 1801, after the sudden death of King Jeongjo.
    In 1784 the king was deeply impressed by the “objectivity” of Dasan’s replies to a set of questions he had formulated.
    More Details Hide Details This was the start of an increasingly close relationship between the king and Dasan.
  • 1783
    Age 21
    In 1783, Dasan passed the chinsagwa (literary licentiate examination), which allowed him to enter the Seonggyungwan (national Confucian academy).
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  • 1776
    Age 14
    In 1776, Dasan was married to Hong Hwabo of the Pungsan Hong clan, the daughter of a royal secretary; in that year he moved to Seoul, where his father received an appointment in the Board of Taxation after the accession of King Jeongjo.
    More Details Hide Details When he was 15, Dasan was introduced to the writings of Seongho Yi Ik by one of his descendants, Yi Ga-Hwan (李家煥, 1742–1801) and his brother-in-law Yi Seung-hun (李承薰, 1756–1801) and he was deeply impressed, resolving to devote his life to similar studies.
  • 1762
    Age 0
    Born in 1762.
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    In 1762, the execution of Crown Prince Sado by his father the king so shocked Jeong Jae-won that he withdrew from official life and returned to his home in Mahyeon-ri.
    More Details Hide Details This explains the courtesy name Gwi’nong (‘back to farming’) his father gave Dasan, who was born in the same year. As a result, Dasan grew up receiving intense intellectual training from his now unoccupied father. The source of Dasan’s intellectual interests can be traced to the influence of the great scholar Udam Jeong Si-han (愚潭 丁時翰, 1625–1707) of the same clan, who taught Jeong Si-yun briefly and was then the main teacher of Dasan’s ancestor Jeong Do-tae as well as his brother Do-je (1675–1729). One of the most significant thinkers in the next generation was the philosopher-scholar Seongho Yi Ik (星湖 李瀷, 1681–1763) and he saw Udam as the authentic heir of Toegye Yi Hwang (退溪 李滉, 1501–1570). Jeong Do-je transmitted the teachings of Udam to the next generations of the family and so they were passed to Dasan’s father and Dasan himself.
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